-LMHRA M/D Alarms
The Director General of the Liberia Medicine and Health Products Regulatory Authority (LMHPRA) Madam Keturah C. Smith has assured Liberians that if given the needed support by government she will halt the sale of illicit medicinal drugs in the country.
Addressing the Ministry of Information regular press briefing last Thursday, Madam Smith added that she has put in place a 4-point strategic-plan to achieve that objective
“The LMHPRA was established in 20l0 by an Act of the National Legislature to regulate the sale and consumption of medicinal and pharmaceutical products in the country meant for the health needs of the people. With a healthy nation there will be a healthy economy,” she noted.
“Our job is to make sure that all pharmaceutical products on the Liberian market are not harmful but safe to be used, which is why we have created 4 departments as part of our strategic plan,” she said.
According to her their first need is to create a laboratory department fully equipped to international World Health Organization (WHO) standards and with lab-technicians and chemists for medicinal products testing, so that all medicines brought into the country are tested as it is part of our responsibility that everyone has access to quality medicines.
Enumerating the challenges that the LMHPRA is facing, Madam Smith intimated that they presently have no lab for the testing and verification of the quality of drugs brought into the country as the existing one was gutted by fire in 20l7 with all materials damaged.
“Our second challenge after the building of a lab and equipping it with equipment and technicians will be to establish a registration department to ensure that all drugs brought into the country are documented. They need to provide us with documents pertaining to each drug received from the manufacturers and we will then have to go there to do GMP inspection as required by law,” she said.
Madam Smith also mentioned the need to establish the equally important inspectorate department of the LMHPRA, as the task of the inspectors will be to go around to inspect warehouse where the drugs are kept, and do surveillance that requires presenting samples for lab testing.
“Sometimes it is expected that when the inspectors visit warehouses they should take samples for lab testing before we can allow drugs in them to be sold to the general public”.
“The inspectors also ensure that medicines are kept under the right conditions to avoid leak areas and other climatic conditions that can spoil the curative medicinal values of the medicine,” she explained.
According to her, they are also in need of establishing a waste disposal management department for the safe disposal of unwanted drugs, as sometimes most of them can be poisonous and thus can cause health hazards to the population.
She said the LMHPRA has established two teams, for tracking and intelligence and information gathering, adding that they are hoping to ensure their presence at all border entering posts in the country, adding that sometimes drugs can be hidden in trucks and labels on expired drug containers are changed for profit motives.
She noted that one reason why they are increasing the number of inspectors is also to track down the flow of illegal herbal or traditional medicines into the country, adding that all herbal medicines are to be certified, registered and tested in their labs before permission can be granted for sale on the Liberian market.
“In this regards, we all know that drugs can both be curative and anyone and harmful to the body. We have begun a vigorous community awareness campaign and anyone knowing about such warehouses or drugs can contact us at cell numbers: 0777-l40-355 or 0888-l35-355,” she said.
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